So, we know that the Toronto Maple Leafs will be without defenceman Jake Muzzin for the remainder of their series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but what happens next?
Muzzin collided with Oliver Bjorkstrand in Game Two of his team’s series against the Blue Jackets. On Wednesday, the organization announced he was discharged from hospital and back at the hotel. He’ll have to spend some time in quarantine before rejoining the club.
The play in question took place after Columbus’ Pierre-Luc Dubois appeared to cross-check Muzzin from behind. He fell into Bjorkstrand, but the league said there’s no intention to look into supplementary discipline.
Muzzin left the ice on a stretcher.
Toronto and Columbus are tied in the series, with Game Three set for Thursday.
This whole situation has made Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe give Travis Dermott another look. The blueliner will be reunited with Justin Holl in Muzzin’s absence, which should pick things up right where they left off at the time of the COVID-19 pause. Keefe was using Holl and Dermott as a duo in mid-March.
“Both guys were taking on greater responsibility (before the pause),” Keefe said. “Holl had really been doing it most of the season, had taken a big step in terms of his responsibility and his role. Dermott is evolving and taking on more as it comes. It has really been injury situations that have given him increased opportunity throughout the entire season, and this is no different.”
One such situation took place when Muzzin was injured in February. That gave Dermott a chance to move up the depth chart, which resulted in the Holl pairing.
Martin Marincin will also be in the Toronto lineup Thursday. He’ll be take on some of the penalty kill minutes normally handled by Muzzin.
“I don’t think you can replace what he does for our team, but I think it’s important to have other guys help fill that void,” defenceman Morgan Rielly said. “He really offers a lot, but I think it’s a good opportunity for guys to play more minutes, to play in different situations and rise to the occasion.”
It’s been reported that Keefe could be looking at including Rasmus Sandin for Game Three. That would give the Leafs seven D-men and 11 forwards.